Bangladesh vs West Indies 1st Test: Repetition of the past or a new story?

| Updated: June 16, 2022 20:22:43

Kemar Roach led the Windies attack that ripped through the Tigers' batting line up in first innings of the 1st Test in 2018. Photo: ESPNCricinfo Kemar Roach led the Windies attack that ripped through the Tigers' batting line up in first innings of the 1st Test in 2018. Photo: ESPNCricinfo

Bangladesh are in West Indies for a full tour, and the two-match Test series begins on June 16 at Antigua.

For Bangladesh, this is a new chapter as Shakib Al Hasan will begin his third tenure as the Test skipper here. Coincidentally, both of Shakib’s previous terms started in the Caribbean islands.

In the first one, Bangladesh managed to win the series 2-0, courtesy of brilliant performances from Shakib and the strike from leading West Indian players regarding payment, resulting in them fielding a B side.

In 2018, Bangladesh lost both Tests, and in the first innings of that series, the Tigers were bowled out for 43, their lowest total to date in red-ball cricket.

As another Test series knocks on the door, the question looms, will this tour be another disaster for Bangladesh? Or will they finally be able to conquer the Caribbean properly?

The biggest concern for Bangladesh will be their batting. In their most recent series, Sri Lankan seamer Kasun Rajitha and Asitha Fernando ripped through the Bangladesh batters on Bangladeshi pitches. And now, they will have to face the likes of Alzarri Joseph, Jayden Seales, Devon Thomas, and Kemar Roach on fast and bouncy tracks in Antigua and St Lucia.

In the Sri Lanka series, only Mushfiqur Rahim and Liton Das looked solid and consistent, but the former is not in this series as he will be performing Hajj.

Tamim is coming off a pair in the second Test against Sri Lanka, however, hit a century in the Test before that, and in the practice match.

But the others, from Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Mominul Haque to Shakib, there’s an eerie concern about batting. And a big blow came for the Tigers when it was announced that Yasir Ali Chowdhury, who was supposed to replace Mushfiq, is out of the Test series with a back injury.

Either Nurul Hasan Sohan or Mosaddek Hossain will play instead of Yasir now, but none have shown promise with the bat that much in recent times in red-ball cricket to have faith.

That means Bangladesh will have to depend on Liton only, and that might once again see batting disasters around the in-form 27-year-old.

The Tigers might have a headache with their pacers as well. Neither Taskin Ahmed nor Shoriful Islam is available as both are injured, and they will have to rely on Mustafizur Rahman, who last played a Test in early 2021, as the third seamer besides Ebadot Hossain and Syed Khaled Ahmed.

While the options are not bad, only Ebadot is among Bangladesh’s first-choice pacers with the red cherry, and how the Fizz fares with the red ball are yet to be seen.

Bangladesh, in their first-ever Test in West Indies in 2004, drew the match, and it’s to date their only drawn match there. Except for the two Tests in 2009, the Tigers have lost five out of the remaining six there.

It was also that famed drawn Test in 2004 where Bangladesh managed their only 400+ score in the Caribbeans, and in the last eight innings there, Bangladesh have managed to go past 200 only once, including that massacre where they were bowled out for 43.

So, neither past record nor recent form talks in favour of Bangladesh. Yet, Bangladesh will hope that they will finally win their third Test in the Caribbean in Shakib’s third tenure as skipper, and against a proper West Indies team. 

In the year where Mount Maunganui happened, why not an Antigua or Saint Lucia?

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